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    Crying over spilled milk

    August 31st, 2008

    In many ways I feel like Thursday was an eternity ago. I’ve lost track of days and dates. Hours are now meaningless because they track only how long it’s been between a feeding or a diaper change. I think in the first 24 hours S and I each had less than 4 hours of sleep.

    We’re trying to get acclimated to how it all works. For example, I never knew that a spit up spell could send me into hysterical crying, but it did. This morning, while S was on the phone with his mom, G started spitting up. You would think “Baby spit-up, what’s the big deal? They do it all the time!” This is true, but when your child is having volumes of yellowish-white goo coming out of his mouth AND nose you freak out. I jumped out of bed, ran to his bassinet, and flipped him on his side so he can drain out. S frantically hangs up with his mom and picks him up. G is now crying as I’m pulling out drawers looking for his bulb syringe. I drained everything as best I could which did the trick for him to quiet down. I put him in my lap and we collapsed in the rocking chair while he dozed back to sleep. And then I started crying. What if we were back home when this happened? What if neither of us was in the room with him? What if he choked? It may have been hormones, it may have been “new parent” anxiety, but whatever IT was, IT was a scary feeling.

    At the end, when both G and I were properly soothed I just looked up at S and said, “Do you realize I’m crying over spilled milk?”

    I know I’ll look back on this story in many years and laugh at myself for how ridiculous I was, but for now, we’ll chalk this up as scary parenting episode #1.

    He’s here!!!!

    August 29th, 2008

    G is here! He was born early this morning via an unplanned c-section at 3:45am. He weighs in at 6.6lbs is 19in long and is incredibly precious to us. We can’t stop staring at him in amazement: 1) in that he’s ours; 2) in that he is just so awe-inspiring; and 3 (at least for me) that he fit in me just 24 hours ago! This last day has been very emotional for us: lots of happy tears, lots of kisses, and gentle caresses. It’s incredible how in just a few short moments a little person can help bind a couple even closer.

    For those that wanted the highlights, you can stop reading now. The rest what follows is his birth story. For the faint of heart, it may contain some yucky material, so you’ve been warned.

    As our previous post related I had a regularly scheduled appt w/ my OB at 10:45. During that visit she observed that I was at 1.5cm dilated and was having a contraction in her presence (even though I couldn’t feel it). Leaving her office S and I went out for lunch, which looking back on it was a brilliant move given the events that ensued shortly afterwards. During lunch I noticed some more contractions. Mild, spaced out.

    When we got home, I noticed even more contractions – still mild, still spaced out. For those curious (and can relate), they felt like light menstrual cramps. I thought to myself “Let’s go shower and shave, because if this moves forward today I might as well be ready”. While I was in the shower, in the span of those 40 minutes, I had another 4 contractions, each becoming a little bit more intense. I found myself squatting on the floor or bracing myself up against the wall and beginning to do the techniques we had learned in class. I think it was about 2pm at this time.

    S had some phone conferences in the afternoon, so he started those. He gave me his phone (a Palm Pilot), for which he had downloaded a contraction tracking application on. I started hitting Start & End at this time, and noticed that I was consistently seeing my contractions around every 10 minutes, lasting over 30 seconds.

    I started having the urge to go to the bathroom more and more now. I gotta say, after a few months of pregnancy-related constipation, the stuff your body produces right before labor is a very welcome change! The urges even to pee got stronger, so I just started walking around the house in my panties… and eventually I even gave up on those.

    My contractions kept increasing in frequency. All of a sudden, in the last 30 minutes of S’ work calls, I was consistently seeing them shorten to 5mins apart, lasting a minute, or well over a minute each time. This was happening fast! Surprisingly fast to be honest. I have to admit, looking back on it, I am thrilled S had decided to work from home as much as possible over the last week. If he was in the office when this all started, and I had to call him, I don’t think he would have made it home in time to get everything ready for us to go… and trust me, at that state, I was on the floor rocking myself into relaxation and in no condition to help load up the car, feed the kitty, or close up the house. We called the doc’s office around 5:30 after having a little over an hour of 5-1-1 contractions. We were told to start making our way to the hospital. Those were perhaps some of the hardest 12 minutes of driving for me. In getting to the car alone I had 1-2 contractions, and while I was in the car, I think I had 3. Sitting up, while contracting? Not comfortable!

    When we got to the desk at L&D I was hunched over forward, going through yet another contraction. The lady at the desk, perhaps not seeing me… or just being funny, looks up and asks “What are you guys here for?” I think I wanted to throw a shoe at her for that question. I waddled over to our labor room slowly and got into the stylish gowns they provide and got checked. I was already 5cm dilated.

    In the next 2-3 hours, I had progressed to 8cm. I lost my plug (over the toilet), and my water broke at about 7:30pm. I was so proud of myself. I was thinking “We could have a baby by midnight!” I was still tolerating the contractions well on my own and was happy to not have needed to ask for drugs. I spent my development between rocking myself in the bed on my side, rocking on all fours, rocking myself lying down on my back, rocking myself while standing propped up on the dining table, and rocking myself on the toilet seat. Notice a theme there? Rocking was key to making myself get through contractions and mellowing out afterwards. I had gone through The Plateau, and what I felt was the beginning of Transition. I had urges to push through my contractions, and I started to. The nurse said that technically this wasn’t good, but since I was making good progress to continue doing what I was going.

    Then things started to go fishy. An hour later, I was still only at around 8.5cm and my cervix was still present and swelling up to boot. We waited some more. My OB came in and checked me herself. She said that she’s noticing me dilated only to 7cm and my cervix was getting progressively more inflamed. I was so disheartened! This feeling alone, I’m sure contributed to the stall that happened. I was told to stop pushing with contractions. You have no idea how hard this was. At 11pm, my OB came in and assessed there had been no change. To boot, she observed that G was lying transverse (facing my hips rather than front or back). She tried turning him, with no luck. Although my OB has been incredibly supportive of our un-medicated birth approach (it’s actually her preferred approach), she was seeing that we might need some pharmaceutical intervention. She recommended Pitocin to see if that could kick start things again, and maybe through my increased contractions G would turn on his own. S and I talked about it in private and asked for an hour to try and induce things on our own. It didn’t work. I’ll be honest, I felt like I was failing and that the need for the medication was my fault. Having S tell me otherwise wasn’t enough. I had to hear it from a nurse.

    It was now almost midnight. I threw up! I had always known that this physical reaction was not uncommon and as I asked for S to get me my bucket, it was all over the floor. I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, but I was drinking lots of water (as told that a person in labor should). What came out was pretty much pure water. As S scrambled, he was barefoot and slipped and fell. So here I am, in bed, not able to stop throwing up, watching my wonderful, supportive husband splat on his back in my sick. It was terrible!

    I got my IV in for the Pitocin. I hate needles, as you by now know. Although IVF and all the testing have helped this some, it’s still not anything pleasant for me. After 2 hours of increasing Pitocin there was no progress, either in my dilation, the swelling, or G’s position. What’s worse is that the monitoring I was on showed that with each contraction G’s heart rate was dropping. When it came to a dangerously close level we were told that we needed to move forward to a c-section. When the equipment to move forward with surgery was lining up around the door and the nurses/OB were starting to shuffle you realize this isn’t really a choice. This wasn’t anything that either S nor I wanted, but we had both agreed that our ultimate goal is to deliver our son safely. At this point I was already exhausted, and I just felt that my body had done all that it can. I believe my statement of consent was “Let’s cut this little guy out!” It was now 2:30am.

    I was ushered to the operating room. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal tap. I won’t lie to you, after all the exhaustion, feeling numb felt so good! I lied down, started to shiver and I was out… asleep. Not from the medication, but I was just drained. I woke up to S on my right, hearing G’s little voice fill the room. Apparently the first words out of my mouth were “Is he still a boy?” I heard them announce his weight, and his height. He sounded good. They took him out of the surgery room into the NICU for his tests. S went with him, while I curiously observed my OB and a scrub nurse close me up through the reflection of the surgery room doors.

    They took me to a recovery room for awhile, where I slept some. It felt like S and G were taking a while to come back. When they did, I asked to nurse, which, although not easy, was pretty successful through the help of our nurse. Afterwards, G and S again went away to take his first bath. The one thing that’s terrible with a c-section is that you miss out on so much! I feel so fortunate to have S be here for all of this. Honestly, he’s ran the show over the last day. The poor man is exhausted, from helping me, being there for G. He’s been incredible and I genuinely would not have gotten through the day without his help and support. I feel very blessed to have him in my life!

    G is otherwise a very happy baby. He sleeps very well (at least he did today). We’re learning how to feed. It’s been difficult, but I’m committed to nursing so we’ll see how it works out.

    With that, I’ll leave you with some photos of our labor. They were taken by Augie, who graciously agreed to join us and document our journey. After things started going wacky Augie left us in private. I feel fortunate that we have what we do at least of the good parts. Enjoy!

    Progress. (Baby? Maybe!)

    August 28th, 2008

    Yours truly is now 1.5cm dilated. I started spotting last night. I noticed it during my regularly scheduled mid-night treckto the bathroom. This fact alone got me all excited and I couldn’t go back to sleep. Consequently, I slept poopie all night anticipating something else, something bigger to happen.

    Apparently I’m also having contractions. I say apparently because my OB noticed it at my appointment today and I couldn’t feel anything. However, since she mentioned it I am now starting to pay attention, and am noticing cramps that feel like mild menstrual pains every 10-15 minutes or so.

    OB’s guess is that G’s birthday party will be within the next 3 days.

    These are all the good news.

    The weird news is that I might be leaking amniotic fluid. My water hasn’t broken (as far as either I or the OB can tell), but her amniotic test strips are turning green. She’s asking me to keep an eye on it, take a walk today and then call her if it continues. My instincts are telling me not to worry, but I feel silly that I didn’t ask what it all means. She’ll call this afternoon to check up on me so I have a chance to ask her then.

    That’s the G update of the day. If she’s right and he does make an appearance at her 3 day mark, he’ll be right on his Due Date schedule. Virgos! Figures!

    Update: Well, the hours since I wrote this have been interesting. I’m now def. having contractions that I can feel. It’s Early stage labor, but hey, it’s Labor. This can go on for days though, or stop, so we’ll see.

    Can I sign up for a labor experience?

    August 26th, 2008

    By nature I am a very trusting person. I believe in the best in people, and unless they’ve disappointed me (and given me reason to distrust), I will go by what they say.

    Yes, this has meant that I was convinced that Jimmy Buffet was actually a chain restaurant (named after some dude named Jimmy who really liked buffets), or that cats and dogs can indeed fly in your backyard while cops chase them around.
    For the record, and to save myself personal embarrassment (further than I have just admitted to), I will note that some of these things occurred when I was pretty young. Life, and attendance in Physics class, have made me a little bit more realistic, but none the less, I’m still a pretty trusting individual.

    … which is why it is my fault TV has messed me up! Yes, I know – just ‘cuz you see it on TV doesn’t mean it’s real, but I will admit that watching the tube has influenced my expectations. Some of it has been good (I like Discovery channel a bunch), but unfortunately not always for the best… as I’m discovering specifically related to labor and recovery.

    A few years ago I had the privilege to visit a friend shortly after she had given birth. Although I didn’t say anything at the time, I was taken aback that her post-partum figure was not what it was pre-pregnancy. Yes, thinking about it logically makes sense – your uterus doesn’t immediately contract back to the size of a golf ball, and it took 9 months to get girthy. Why would it melt away right away? But from TV (‘cuz soap operas never lie, right?), the bellies went back to flat in 0 seconds, and my mom said she had reclaimed her skinny-mini figure by the time she left the hospital after giving birth to me. I just assumed it was normal and the way things were.
    So I’ve now coming to terms that my body will still look pregnant after I give birth for awhile, and this is natural and expected.

    Point number two of how TV and stories (from colleagues, family, friends) have set my expectations in a bad way is Labor. They always make it sound painful. Very painful! This sucks for suggestible people like me, because the conditioning you get is going to influence the experience you get. If you believe that Labor will be a painful experience, it most likely will be. I’ve been trying to recondition how I think it will feel like, but after 20[-caugh] years it’s a little hard. Key has been finding birth stories that exemplify alternative labor experiences. There are some that sound really appealing to me. Like, for example, the women who didn’t know they were in labor until the baby came out on its own. Or the women who had orgasms during labor or pushing.
    I’ll take either of those please. Where’s the sign-up form?
    So… again, when the time comes, I’ll be focusing on remembering that, if I’m not one of the lucky ones, and labor might not feel pain-free, it will be manageable.

    Those are my meditation thoughts for today.

    Oh.. in other news. G had the hiccups last night! It may not sound like much to you, but I’ve been worried that I hadn’t felt him do this up until now. If, they were in fact hiccups, they felt pretty cool. It was kind of a rhythmic thumping feeling. They went on for minutes. And if they weren’t the hiccups then I’ll take solace he’s the most coordinated (and enduring) head banger ever.

    Single digits

    August 24th, 2008

    We’re in the single digits now!!! G’s D-day (D for delivery) is 8 days away.

    I’ve had a pretty productive week. I’ve gotten all the things I wanted to get accomplished complete. S still has a longish “todo” list, but knowing S that’s not unusual — he always has something planned.

    One of his current tasks is to make a cheat-sheet for labor. It’s great he’s doing it. I know that my wits won’t be about me during this time, and it’s great that S will know what to do and will be running the show so I can focus on trying to stay relaxed. At the same time I don’t want him to worry and stress out too much. Keeping track of the occurrence/duration of my contractions? Good! Keeping track of how often I go to the potty (once labor begins) and what I do in there? Not so much! At this rate, I’m wondering if we’ll need drugs from the hospital after all… to keep him calm and sedated 🙂

    With that, I leave you with my latest belly pic:

    A “Betting Guide” for new parents

    August 22nd, 2008

    Has the phrase “I’ll give you a buck if [insert event here]” ever come out of your mouth?

    I’m not much of a betting person, but once in awhile I’ll take a fun challenge.

    What I’m finding interesting is the creativity that new (or about to be new) parents take with bets. Take for example the latest one S and I have going:

    S’ project has been getting delayed for quite some time now. It’s beta date keeps slipping, so I’ve bet him that they’re not releasing this product to beta customers in 2008. Right now it’s scheduled for October. S being the faithful man that he is (in his team), is holding out confidence that it will go out on time (or at least in this calendar year).

    What’s on the line? A fun night of sole diaper changing responsibility. Night to be determined by the winner.

    So with poo on the line, you know we mean business. Care to bet on which one of us will win this one? ;p

    At least another week

    August 21st, 2008

    My weekly appointment was today.

    I’ve gained only 1lb over the previous week (yey), my blood pressure continues to be excellent (def. yey), I am measuring at 36w (boo), and I’m only 1/2 cm dilated (yey). Dr. M said that she thinks it will be at least another week before G decides to make a run for it.

    She’s estimating a 6 lb-something baby (although I think he’ll be 7-something), and she has no guesses on hair (other than that it will start off dark and then lighten up). So, for all of you who’ve played our baby pool, that’s all the updates this week 🙂

    I want my kitty back :(

    August 21st, 2008

    Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but I’ve never been this emotional about leaving my cat at the vet.

    Neko’s getting a few teeth pulled today. Maine Coons are genetically predisposed to bad gums, and two of his teeth have to go. We took him in this morning and are waiting for the call to pick him up. Here I am imagining him in a cage, curled up into an orange ball, shedding up a storm… hungry.

    This morning was heart-breaking not being able to feed him, but because he’ll be anesthetized he’s been on a liquid diet since last night. He was asking for his breakfast as early as 6:30 and just kept giving us this confused look over why we’d be circling his bowl all morning yet it would stay empty. He’d also go look at his bowl every 10 minutes just to check if food magically appeared.

    Coming back home afterwards was also eerie. We’d normally open the door and he’d either be by it, on the stairs or by the bedroom doors. Every time we’d walk in he’d at least chirp. And this morning it was quiet. I don’t like it!

    I know the procedure was a must, but I want my kitty home already!!!!

    Update:  Neko is now home. My poor kid didn’t go into surgery until 3:30 and he spent all day with no food 🙁 The clinic wanted to keep him overnight since he was the last one to get anesthesia. It may have been selfish of me, but I said “No!” There’s no way he would be better in a cage in a strange place overnight vs. being at home with us. We picked him up right before closing and brought him home. He’s been quiet, but alert and his appetite is slowly coming back.

    Now G has to cooperate and hang in there for another day or two while his cat-brother fully recovers. So not digging the idea of Neki being on his own and someone else having to give him his meds… ha! as if Mr. Hissypants would ever allow for that one.

    My PB&J sandwich is no longer PB-less… sorta

    August 19th, 2008

    A few weeks ago our friends D&T decided to move back to New York. As they cleaned out their fridge, they left some of their left-over condiments with us. Although I could never put Tobasco sauce to use in my house (I can’t digest spicy foods), they had lots of other goodies I was happy to take, and curious to try.

    I will start off by saying that I can’t stand peanut-butter! I like it in they tiny Reese’s peanut-butter cups you score while Trick-or-Treating, but that’s about it. For me, the best way to spoil a jelly sandwich was to put peanut butter on it. I think PB is something you have to grow up with, and the majority of Europeans that I’ve talked to that haven’t (grown up around it), can’t stand it either.

    Well… NO MORE!!! Today amongst D&T’s food gifts I discovered sunflower seed butter. Yeah, I know it’s not the same as PB, but it’s so damn good. It actually tastes a bit like Halvah (for those that have tried it), which is an additional bonus for me because it makes me remember the goodies I ate growing up.

    2 tablespoons have 7g of protein (which is good for pregnancy)… and I’m ignoring how many calories are in that same serving.

    I’m a happy girl today! By extension, G will be a happy boy too, since nutty-type butter spread will no longer be exiled from our home.

    It’s a bruise, no… wait… it’s a stretch-mark

    August 18th, 2008

    Yeah, it was inevitable, and I’m not upset about it, but it amuses me how long it took me to recognize the markings on my skin as stretch-marks. I thought they were indentations from pants, or maybe a bruise, until yesterday it hit me – stretch-marks. It’s almost like earning my first set of “mommy stripes”. In this case… almost literally ;p

    I won’t subject you to a picture of that, but heres some belly shots from today:

    I only have a few weeks left of these so I’m trying to be good about taking one each week. I put the one in on the right, because my pink PJs don’t really reflect that I really am mostly belly.

    My first maternity leave day was today. I woke up around 8 after successfully ignoring Neko’s 6am meows and S’s many alarms (the man requires at least 3 to rise). Upon waking up I had the best feeling: my colleagues were on their way to work, and I had a day of gluttonously blissful relaxation ahead. It was almost like playing hooky, and that feeling was way better than any day of vacation I’ve ever had! I got together with my friend A: we walked on the beach at Pacifica, watched the surfers wait around for waves and had lunch. I had a blast. You know that saying “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Yeah – I lived that today. All of a sudden 4 hours had passed by and it was time to go.

    I spent my afternoon attending another hospital tour with S. The first trips we made were to interview hospitals. Since then we’ve had questions, and realized we probably need a refresher visit. We turned into one of THOSE couples: you know… the ones that kept asking obscure questions making the tour take 3 times longer than it normally would? S walked away saying that one of the other expectant dads kept giving him the evil eye whenever we’d ask anything. Quite frankly, I didn’t care. He may not realize that asking how many pillows the hospital provides just helped his wife plan how much to pack for.

    Days like today really are helping me get ready for G. Even after only 10 hours, I feel calmer and more prepared (as if one ever could be). No clue what the rest of the week will bring, but so far life is good!